It’s impossible to look at TOY, the latest fragrance from Italian fashion brand, Moschino and not smile. I mean, the perfume is packaged inside a cuddly little teddy bear, so one’s initial encounter with the fragrance will usually involve the utterance of noises such as “aww” and “squee” and cries of “OH. MY. GOD. IT’S. SO. BLOOMING. CUTE” and “IT’SSOFLUFFYI’MGONNA’DIE”. It is after all, incredibly cute and that gorgeous little face is adorably cheeky, and impossible to resist.
TOY is the brainchild of Moschino’s Creative Director, Jeremy Scott, who has worked with the likes or Rihanna, Katy Perry, Björk, Madonna, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga, just to name a small sample of the upper echelon of pop divas that he has collaborated with. The scent is being positioned by the brand as a “revolutionary product launch” that offers “a completely innovative way to package, show and sell fragrance”, posing the question whether this bear is a perfume or a toy. It also serves as a nice nod back to Moschino’s founder, Franco Moschino, who famously used stuffed animals on garments in his 1988 Fall-Winter collection.
Created by perfumer Alexandra Kosinski (Etat Libre d’Orange Cologne), TOY displays woody, floral and citrus notes that are intended to be evocative of the bear’s forest home. Whether TOY is exactly that, a toy, or a perfume, or a teddy bear, or all of the above depends on how you approach it. What cannot be denied however, is that this is an attention-grabbing launch that breathes new life into the world of Moschino parfums, and an incredibly cute one at that.
“From the depths of the wild, stuffed animal kingdom comes TOY, Moschino’s latest fragrance. Conceived by Moschino Creative Director Jeremy Scott, TOY smashes every fragrance preconception to bits, boldly redrawing its form, function and fabulousness.”
“I wanted to push the fragrance beyond the realm of what a perfume looks like, or how it’s packaged. And I think we’ve achieved that!”
– Jeremy Scott
Top: Mandarin, Cardamom and Bergamot
Heart: Lavender, Violet Petals and Hawthorn
Base: Sandalwood, Vanilla, Mountain Tree Moss and Acacia
How Does it Smell?
If you’re expecting TOY to smell like a beastly little bear, or even a soft and cuddly sweet little thing, then you’re going to be quite surprised by the first spritz of this perfume, as TOY is neither of these things. In fact, TOY is shockingly fresh and outdoorsy right from the outset, opening itself up with glaringly bright citrus notes that verge on the extreme, casting an almost metallic cleanliness that is sparse, and crisply clinical. There’s a touch of spice too, that provides a textured and astringent backdrop to the otherwise smooth cleanliness of the bergamot and mandarin that dominate the opening.
As the initial blast of citrus fruits subdues, TOY becomes decidedly more floral, but avoids the usual culprits of rose, jasmine and gardenia, and instead opts for the more herbal, earthy and sweet tones of lavender and violet. The use of these two purple flowers gives TOY a forest-y feel and amplifies that expansive, outdoors vibe that permeates the opening so strongly, with the aquatic feel of the violet leaf that brings an almost masculine tone to the proceedings.
In the base, TOY warms up and starts to display the plush character one would expect from, well, a plush character. The softness comes from the marriage of creamy sandalwood and vanilla, the former of which provides a subtle spice, whilst the latter brings some sweetness. A touch of moss keeps that off-kilter metallic facet going right until the dry down, ensuring that TOY feels fresh and airy at all times throughout its development.
It would be fair to say that TOY the concept doesn’t entirely match up with TOY the fragrance, and there is a fair bit of discord between the two. Does the perfume feel like a bit of an after-thought to the packaging? Perhaps, and this feeling is amplified by the fact that the press release mentions very little about the scent itself. Is this a missed opportunity? Again, perhaps. I love the ridiculous idea of packaging a scent as a teddy bear, and Moschino (and Jeremy Scott) have executed the concept superbly, right from the box to the bottle, but one can’t help but wish there was a cute little marshmallow of a scent inside the bear’s body (a la Prada Candy), or even a quirky and animalic odour to really give the impression of a real life ted. But perhaps that was the point – to put the least expected juice inside that adorable bottle. If so, then TOY succeeds.
That said, I feel that TOY’s appeal doesn’t necessarily lie within the fragrance it carries. This is a trinket perfume for those that want to own a piece of pop culture and arguably the cutest fragrance bottle on the planet. The scent itself is pleasant enough and I must admit that I enjoy it more as it dries down and becomes a little bit more plush and cuddly, with that pleasing hint of moss in the background. TOY is a fresh, floral chypre housed within a cuddly toy – who’d have seen that one coming?
TOY is available in 50ml Eau de Toilette for £80.
Sample, notes and quotes via MOSCHINO. Image 1 via fashiongonerogue.com. Image 2 via moschino.com.